Let us assume, beyond continuing equalizations along the line here
intimated--between the social classes, between men and women, young
and old, rural and urban--the continued full employment and prosperity
on which they considerably rest, and that this will continue to put
unionized factory workers above even our changing definitions of poverty.
Let us assume, too, that we continue to opt for increased productivity as
well as increased time off. Does this presently visible potentiality of "nonwork" for variety and mobility--in homebuilding, domestic handicrafts,
travel, organizational activity, sports, spectatorship, and even part-time
entrepreneurship--provide an infinitely expandable package deal for the
satisfying expenditure of time and energy and for the attainment of an
adequate identity? Or are we coming to an era when workers have all the
housing they care for, and can no longer pour energies into homebuilding?
When possessions no longer lure them, when travel palls? No doubt,
adult educators water at the mouth at the prospect--for they are in the
business of selling intangibles for which the market is totally elastic. . . .
The future seems "impossible," whichever way we look at it. Leisure
marches on, while understanding of its import escapes these reporters,
and planful invention and design of its opportunities escape all of us.
Thus, while noting that leisure can be of crucial importance, R. F. Tregold
( Human Relations in Modern Industry, New York: International Universities Press, 1950), devotes but three pages to it (cf. pp. 70-72), while C. H. Lawsheet al. ( Psychology of Industrial Relations, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1953, pp. 50-53) sees leisure rather narrowly in terms of
its effects on productivity. Conversely, many books on leisure (e.g., Martin
Esther Neumeyer, Leisure and Recreation, New York: A. S. Barnes, 1947) make only tangential contact with work as setting the time, energy,
and often compensatory nature of play. A greater sense of the dialectic
between work and leisure can be found in Foster Rhea Dulles, America
Learns to Play ( New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1940), and notably in Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens ( Boston: Beacon Press, 1955).
Alvin Gouldner ( Patterns of Industrial Bureaucracy, Glencoe, Ill.: Free
Press, 1954) observes that miners and millworkers behave differently
among each other and with supervisors and sees these patterns refracted
in their behavior off the job. Elton Mayo, of course, devoted passionate
attention to the reveries and off-the-job worries which the Hawthorne
Plant workers brought from their often underprivileged homes.
The L. S. Ayres department store in Indianapolis made the discovery that
when it gave its employees Monday off (rather than a shifting weekday),
many more went to church Sunday for they could use the following day
to rest up and catch up; undoubtedly, the present phenomenal rise in
church attendance among Americans owes a good deal to the shorter workweek and two-day weekend.
Warren Peterson in a study of Kansas City schoolteachers found also this
growing demand for early retirement, expressing boredom and defeatism
about work as much as any specific desires for postwork leisure activities
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Man, Work, and Society:A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations.
Contributors: Sigmund Nosow - Author, William H. Form - Author.
Publisher: Basic Books.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1962.
Page number: 40.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.